Catchphrase Interruptus

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Rainbow Dash: Never fear, your friendly neighborhood Rainbow—

Runaway Bus Passenger: Excuse me, uh, do you think you could skip your catchphrase and just hurry up and save us?!

A subversion of the Catch Phrase or One-Liner where another character interrupts the expected line, usually with something disparaging.

Usually takes advantage of the Dramatic Pause in the middle of the Catch Phrase. Also a sure sign that the once cherished phrase is now at risk of gettin' old.

See also Talk to the Fist, Subverted Catchphrase. Compare Musicalis Interruptus, which is this trope applied to songs, and Finish Dialogue in Unison.

Examples of Catchphrase Interruptus include:

Anime and Manga

  • Angel Beats!: Takeyama's catchphrase ("Call me Christ") became more and more prone to interruptions as the episodes go.
  • In later seasons of Pokémon, it became increasingly common for someone to interrupt Team Rocket in the middle of their super-long Catch Phrase.
    • As spoofed here in VG Cats.
    • Though Ash actually attempts to do this as early as the fourth episode, only to be met with "Nobody interrupts the Team Rocket motto!" and then they finish it.
      • Team Rocket still gets annoyed if they're not allowed to finish the motto, though even they apparently clued in on how old it was getting to an extent, since they've gone through a couple of new (still long) replacement mottos.
      • During the Sinnoh arc, they would get interrupted by Barry every time he appeared.
    • In one instance, they're about to deliver their motto when they find "the twerps" in Team Rocket outfits, who then declare it to them. Jessie is furious.
    • Cilan's "Tasting Time~!" is interrupted midway by Stephan (who proceeds to defeat him) when they battle each other in the Donamite.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a less comical version than usual: The last time anyone says "Who the hell do you think I am" he (Simon), cuts himself off and decides to say that he's no one.
  • In the Slayers light novels, Xelloss's last appearance ends with him storming off in a huff after Gourry pre-empts his catchphrase.

Xelloss: Now, I owe you nothing. So with regards to what we were discussing...
Gourry: It's a secret, isn't it?
Xelloss: Gourry-san, you spoiled everything!

  • In episode 5 of Tiger and Bunny, Blue Rose's catchphrase "My ice may be a little cold, but your crime has been put on hold!" is interrupted, much to her dismay.

Comic Books

  • In Tom Strong, Timmy Turbo's catchphrase, "Holy socks!", which precedes nearly every sentence he says, grates so much on his friends that, well...

Holy so- hey, I wasn't really going to say it, guys, I- ow...

  • Teen Titans - Raven is chanting her mantra while battling Dr. Light, but Light blasts her before she can finish.

Bit of advice. Find shorter magic words.

    • Of course, it turns out she doesn't need to say them to do magic but to maintain control of herself, as he finds out to his misfortune.


  • Ironically, the one time Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies manages to finish his catchphrase, "This is the day you will always remember as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow", he is actually caught.
  • In X 2 X Men United, Nightcrawler repeatedly tries to introduce himself to people by saying "My name is Kurt Wagner, but in the Munich Circus I was known as the Incredible Nightcrawler", but always gets cut off before he can finish.
  • Kevin Smith's Superman Lives script had the phrase "This looks like a job for Superman!" said twice (once by Lois attempting a Borrowed Catchphrase), and both times it was interrupted before Superman's name could be said.



"Many have taken ship at the pale beaches," replied the Warden, "and--"
"Yes, I know," interrupted Puddleglum. "And few return to the sunlit lands. You needn't say it again. You are a chap of one idea, aren't you?"


Random extra: ... But I gotta tell you, I've got a bad-
Han: No time for that now.

  • In Animorphs, there's at least one time where Marco cuts off Rachel's traditional "Let's do it!" so he can say it himself. He interrupts her another time to make a bet with Jake as to whether or not she'll say it—she finishes with "Let's go for it!" out of spite.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's A Civil Campaign, perpetual Phrase Catcher Ivan "You idiot" Vorpatril manages to pre-empt Miles' traditional greeting.

Miles: Ivan you idi--
Ivan: Don't . . . say it. I just saved your ass, again. And what thanks do I get, again? None. Nothing but abuse and scorn. My humble lot in life.


Live Action Television


Tom: To infinityyyy...
Crow: Ahem. Disney? Lawsuit?
Tom: ...a-and other places!

  • In later series of Blackadder, Edmund would frequently anticipate Baldrick's announcement that he had "a cunning plan". Only a Catchphrase Interruptus when he stops Baldrick at "Fear not, my lord", rather than pre-empting the whole phrase.
  • In Black Books: In 3rd season episode Party, Manny had convinced Bernard to go to a Parteyh.

Manny: Let's paaaar...
Manny: Let's... poooootter along... in order to attend the party!

  • Here's an extreme example: in the second season finale of How I Met Your Mother, Barney starts his Catch Phrase "It's gonna be legen... wait for it..." when the episode ends. It was not until the third season premiere four months later that he got to finish with "..dary!" Also a Brick Joke.
    • There was a shorter one earlier on, when Barney fainted from the flu after finishing the first half of his catchphrase, and then waking up at the end of the scene to finish it.
  • In the last iteration of the Spanish Inquisition sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, the Cardinal is cut short by the end of the episode, leading the to the phrase "Nobody expects the Spa... oh, bugger".
  • The only time in the entire Star Trek franchise that the Borg were shown to be easily defeated was in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager where they got as far as "Resistance Is Futile -" before being blown out of the sky.
    • In another episode, B'Elanna interrupts the series-long Star Trek medic catchphrase.

EMH: I'm a Doctor-
B'Elanna: Not an engineer, right.

  • John Belushi once held Saturday Night Live hostage by refusing to say the show's Opening Catch Phrase. He had a list of demands.
    • SNL also did an show-opener parody of American Idol and its unfathomable level of Padding in which Jimmy Fallon as Ryan Seacrest kept cutting to commercial, including immediately after returning from commercial ("Welcome back to American Idol. We'll be right back.") and finishing with, "Kimberly, you are... LIVE, FROM NEW YORK... We'll be right back."
    • During a time period where SNL was being heavily criticized for being uninspired and lazy, Steve Martin and the cast opened the show with an elaborate musical number about how they were not going to phone it in for once, only to end with Martin booming in grand Broadway fashion, "LIVE FROM NEW YOOOOOOOOOOOORK..." then an awkward pause, then, "...line?"
  • Only Fools and Horses has this exchange...

Uncle Albert: During the...
Del Boy: [interrupts Albert] If you say during the war one more time, I'll pour this cup of tea over your head!
Uncle Albert: I wasn't going to say "during the war" actually. You bloody know-it-all!
Del Boy: [Backing down] All right.
Uncle Albert: During the 1939-1945 conflict with Germany.

  • Happens all the time to Dragon Tenaya 7 in Power Rangers RPM. All she wants to do is finish her speech about how she's the doom of mankind once.
  • This exchange from Reba:

Neighbor: Yoo hoo! I'm here! And I'm --
Reba: Oh, shut up and grab a doughnut!

  • In Kamen Rider Decade, DiEnd interrupts his summoned Den-O Sword Form's "I have arrived!" by shooting him with a Final Form shot, turning him into Momotaros. The first thing Momo does is to start bawling out DiEnd for cutting him off mid-sentence.
    • In the very next episode, DiEnd performs Decade's usual World of Cardboard Speech. When Tsukasa/Decade says "Quit stepping on my lines!", Daiki/DiEnd completes the theft: "I was a 'passing-through Kamen Rider' long before you ever were!"
  • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger episode 14 has the team come out of their Transformation Sequence with Captain Marvelous ready to fight, starting his catchphrase "Let's make a show of it!", only for it to be interrupted when it turns out the villains escaped during the sequence.

Professional Wrestling

  • Used with an especially long delay in an episode of WWE Raw: Booker T began to yell his catchphrase, "Now can you dig that... SUCKA!" into Christian's face, only for Christian to interrupt by punching Booker, causing a brawl that had to be broken up by officials. Not to be deterred, Booker T reappeared nearly an hour later to finish, bellowing "SUCKAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" to Christian, in a hilarious moment that must have horribly confused anybody tuning in late.
  • Despite his impeccable mic skills, The Rock has had his catchphrases interrupted many a time, usually with the one interrupting to finish saying whatever it is they had to say. Sometimes, they finish The Rock's phrase themselves. This is often played for laughs and usually ends up badly for the interrupter, as NO ONE interrupts the Great One.
    • Stone Cold Steve Austin managed to get one over on The Rock several times in a single promo with The Rock returning the favor. Hilarity ensues.


Video Games

  • In the very early gameplay demo of Diablo III in a dialogue between the barbarian hero and Cain, Cain is about to say "stay a while and listen" But before he finishes the word "stay" the barbarian tells him there is no time for idle talk.

Web Original

  • In episode 26 of Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series, Seto Kaiba commits Catchphrase Interruptus on himself, cutting off Yami's "did you just summon a bunch of monsters in one turn?" before he can actually finish the straight line.
    • This happened to Bandit Keith's "In America" as well.

Joey: Let me guess... "In America".
Bandit Keith: I wasn't going to say that! (Beat) In America.


"Eeeeeeveryone's a heroooooo in theeeeeeeeeir-" ... gets frozen in time, an entirely different song begins and ends, then gets unfrozen ... "waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay"


Kit: Have you ever considered a leotard?
Red Panda: Kit Baxter-
Kit: We've done that bit...


Western Animation

  • The second and third seasons of South Park did this in almost every episode with Kenny's deaths, as Stan and Kyle's collective catchphrase from Season One ("Oh My God, They Killed Kenny!" "You Bastards!") would be subverted in some way (In "Prehistoric Ice Man", Kyle wasn't speaking to Stan and so refused to say his line, and in "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000" it was used flatly after Stan and Kyle were the ones responsible for Kenny's death: "Oh my god, we killed Kenny." "We killed Kenny?" "Yep, we're bastards.").
    • Done as early as the first season, such as the episode where Kenny dies in a microwave, and Kyle angrily calls the appliance a bastard.
    • Or an episode where they have flashbacks and remember everything wrong...including one where they're outrunning Death. Kenny stops, flips him onto his back, and jumps up and down on him, to as speechless "Oh my God, Kenny, you... killed... Death..." "Yeah, you... bastard?"
    • Though they occasionally go to great lengths to maintain it. Once Kenny was killed in a mosh pit with only Cartman to witness it. Cartman dutifully breaks out the first half of the phrase, and we cut to a wide outdoor shot wherein Kyle walks up from nowhere and yells the conclusion, then leaves.
      • Though not as well-known as a previous example, the boys had a standard exchange with Chef ("Hello, children! How's it going?/"Bad."/"Why bad?") that was subverted on two occasions: once when Chef scolded them for not being able to solve their own problems, and another time when the boys said that everything was fine, thus tipping Chef off that they were in serious trouble.
      • There was also the subversion of Chef's usual practice of having a song for every occasion:

Chef: How's it going?
The Kids: Bad.
Chef: Why bad?
Stan: We killed our teacher and they found our semen in her stomach.
Chef: Children, that's a problem we all have to face at one time or another. Here, let me sing you a song about it: (in song) Weeeell sometimes you kill your teacher / And they find your semen in her stomach WAIT, WHAT THE -- WHAT?

  • See also The Simpsons episode in which Mr. Burns hires actors to impersonate the Simpsons and Homer's says "B'oh!" ("Homer Simpson doesn't say B'oh!, he says..." * flips through notes* "...D'oh!")
    • In a Halloween episode Nelson is in the middle of his catchphrase ("Ha Ha!") when Bart stops time and removes his clothes. A nude Nelson ends up saying "Ha Huh?"
  • Reversed in Transformers: Beast Wars, in an instance where instead of getting his Catch Phrase interrupted, Rattrap was left to say the Catch Phrase response himself.

"We're all gonna die... Yeah, yeah, I know, 'Shut up, Rattrap.'"

  • In Futurama Bender's Catch Phrase "Bite my shiny metal ass" is interrupted in three occasions. In War is the H-Word, Fry stops Bender from saying the last word because it triggers a voice-activated bomb inside him. In "Roswell That Ends Well", Bender's head falls off the ship as he says, "1947 can bite my shiny metal AAAAAAHHHHH!" In "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings" Bender realizes that he had traded his "butt plate" to the Robot Devil, so it comes out "Bite my shiny metal... Oh, no!"

Cubert: * using a voice changer to sound like the professor* Good news everyone! I'm a horse's butt!
Farnsworth: I am? That's not good news at all!

  • One of Commander Feral's usual lines in Swat Kats is "Bring me chopper backup!" By the end of the first season, he starts getting regularly interrupted mid-line - typically due to his helicopter crashing, melting, or what-have-you.
  • Occurs in El Tigre when Manny enters a supervillain contest with a bunch of huge hairy men. He tries to console himself...

Manny: You know what they say. The bigger they are...
Frida: The more likely they'll cause internal bleeding! I know!

  • Tends to happen to Darkwing Duck. Usually due to him being injured or otherwise inconvienced in the middle of his "I am the terror..." routine..

Darkwing I am the terror that flaps in the night! I am... all out of my trademark blue smoke.
Darkwing I am the terror that flaps [SPLAT] on your windshield.


Muscle Man: I know someone who can help...
Benson: If you say your Mom, you're FIRED!
Muscle Man: My mom!
Benson: GET OUT!
Muscle Man: It was Worth It!